During the 2010 Speech From The Throne and in Budget 2010, the federal government announced it would tackle this issue head on. After months of consultations and discussions with different stakeholders, a plan was announced that will:
- invest $10 million over two years to improve community safety and to ensure that the justice system and law enforcement agencies can better respond to cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women;
- will improve law enforcement and the justice system through:
- A new National Police Support Centre for Missing Persons to help police forces across Canada by providing coordination and specialized support in missing persons investigations;
- A national “tip” Web site for missing persons;
- Enhancing the Canadian Police Information Centre database to capture additional missing persons data;
- Amendments to the Criminal Code to streamline the warrants application process where wiretaps are required in missing person cases; and
- A comprehensive list of best practices to help communities, law enforcement and justice partners in future work.
- Federal funding for culturally appropriate victims services through provinces and territories; as well as funding for Aboriginal groups to help the families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women;
- New awareness materials, pilot projects and new school- and community-based pilot projects targeted to young Aboriginal women; and
- New community safety plans to be developed to enhance the safety of women living in Aboriginal communities.
From 2005-2010, the Native Women's Association of Canada received approximately $5 Million dollars to initiate the research of our missing and murdered Aboriginal women. It must be noted that NWAC was the lead role and will continue to play a major part in addressing this issue as the government's plan unfolds. As a matter of fact, NWAC will receive approximately $500,000 to continue working on missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Unfortunately, the critics have already come out stating NWAC have had their buget "cut" with Liberal and NDP MP's endorsing this false position. Here are the facts: NWAC received $5 million over 5 years. The Conservative government announced $10 Million over 2 years. The question that must be answered is the following: is it more important to fully tackle this issue that includes law enforcement officials, improvement to the justice system, resources for victim's families, resources for community safety programs, awareness and education materials, the continued particpation of NWAC, Aboriginal organizations and chiefs or is it more important that NWAC retain its 1 Million dollar funding as opposed to the $500,000 that it will receive? I think the math is quite simple and I think the answer is quite simple. This is by no means a slight at NWAC because they have delivered. Rather, it's a slight at the Liberal and NDP critics who have come out swinging at the Conservative government without having allowed the plan to begin rolling out and for using this unfortunate issue as a means to take swipes at the announcement. To those critics, I say, where were you in the last 5 years, what solutions did you propose, what recommendations did you provide the government? What plan would you have in place? The easiest thing is to criticize, the hard part is to share alternative solutions, which they have not done. Point is, the Conservative government said it would deliver, it delivered.